The quality of fire produced by your fire pit will depend, to a large extent, on the kind of wood you use for burning. In order to produce flames with little smoke and spitting, you need to choose the right wood. The wood should be dry and well-seasoned.
You won't be able to start a good fire with damp wood because it will generate a lot of smoke and this can generate a buildup of creosote, a tar-based byproduct of wood combustion that is known for starting chimney fires. In this article, we explain what the best types of wood are for outdoor fireplaces.
Why does your choice of wood matter?
Although there different safe wood options for your fire pit, they don’t all burn the same way. Picking the right firewood can make the experience of being around a fire more enjoyable. Not to mention that picking the wrong wood can expose you to inconveniences and dangers such as:
- Starting a fire will be a challenge
- There might be a lot of smoke
- Dangerous embers or sparks might fly about
- Dangerous chemicals might be released into the atmosphere
What should you bear in mind while choosing your wood?
- For the optimal fireplace experience, you need to pick a wood that burns as cleanly as possible and is easy to ignite. Typically, this depends on the density and moisture content of the wood.
- Hardwoods are generally denser and easier to dry when compared to softwoods. This means that whether you're at a campsite or in your backyard, they will nurture a continuous, low-maintenance fire that lasts for hours.
- Softwoods burn quickly due to their relative lack of density. This means that, if you’re using softwood in your outdoor fireplace, you'll need to buy more of it and tend to it more frequently. However, this type of wood is easier to light and generally less expensive.
What wood burns the slowest in a fire pit?
Hickory has a reputation for being the slowest burning wood. Other examples of slow-burning hardwoods include oak, black locust, beech, and ash. Among these, ash is the most popular because it may be burned when still green, while other materials require one to two years of aging before usage.
Hardwoods also have the hottest and longest burn periods. In addition, they are often easier to work with and have the least amount of pitch and sap. That being said, they are more likely to produce clinkers, a stony and hard residue, in the leftover ash.
Be mindful of the phloem, a type of thick inner brown bark, when burning birch firewood. Due to the bark's high moisture absorption, uneven drying of the wood may occur. For a cleaner burn and less smoke, it is advisable to combine birch with another kind of hardwood.
What is the best wood to burn in an outdoor fireplace?
One of the greatest options for a consistent, long-lasting fire is ash wood. Reasonably-priced and accessible, its main drawback is that it may take longer to ignite. However, once it does, it will quickly generate a lot of heat.
Your greatest option for a cozy fire is beech. It is a high-density wood that burns fiercely and has a mouthwatering aroma when properly seasoned.
Use cherry if you want to create an atmosphere without lighting a fire hours before your visitors come. One of its great advantages is that it lights up quickly, thereby leaving you with more time to enjoy the fire.
Due to its thickness, this popular wood burns for hours. It is the perfect wood for cooking on your outdoor fireplace, as it enhances the taste of food.
This common wood is widely available and burns slowly and thoroughly, without producing a lot of smoke. Although it can take years to fully dry out, it is simple to split.
Pine is a great option if you're looking for cheap wood that will create an atmosphere. When burned, it crackles and breaks easily. However, because pine burns quickly, experts claim it is better used as kindling rather than fire logs.
Gas vs. wood burning fire pits
Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are a cozy addition to any home’s outdoor space. Apart from livening up your backyard, they can also increase your property’s value.
Fuel and storage
While wood fire pits require the use of dry wood, gas fire pits operate with liquid propane or natural gas. Wood burning fire pits are often larger than gas fire pits because they must accommodate big logs. Firewood is necessary for wood fire pits, whereas a consistent propane or natural gas supply is necessary for gas fire pits.
It is also important to consider storage. Wood fireplaces require a location to store wood. Because wood might harbor termites, you need to make sure it stays dry and is placed far from the house. In contrast, a gas fire pit needs a sizable storage tank to hold the gas it requires to operate. Companies offer containers that are between 15 and 100 gallons. This tank will not be visually appealing so you might want to formulate a landscaping strategy that will conceal it.
An outdoor fire pit powered by gas is far more effective at generating heat continuously. Typically, lighting the flames only requires pressing a button. A wood fire pit, on the other hand, requires the effort of actually starting a fire. However, once a fire is underway, it can emit heat continuously for a while before requiring a new log.
How to prepare your outdoor fireplace for the summer
What do you put in a wood burning fire pit?
To start a fire, you need tinder. This can be any little dry object that burns swiftly and can readily ignite. It can include things like paper, wood shavings, or even dry leaves. The foundation of your fire will be your tinder bundle.
After you've spread out your tinder, begin building a teepee on top of your fire pit. Use the twigs and smaller sticks you have on hand, together with your kindling. Make sure your teepee has a small entrance for airflow. Your fire will receive the air it needs for efficient combustion thanks to this airflow. In the middle of the teepee, start with your smallest piece of kindling and work your way outward towards the larger ones. And finally, light your teepee after adding many larger pieces of firewood.
Buy an outdoor fireplace
The ideal way to spend your summer evenings is in front of an outdoor fire. A fireplace is a great way to maximize your outside area. All the outdoor fireplaces that Feu Ardent sells are made in Quebec, have unique designs, and are sturdy. Not to mention they are easy to assemble and can be customized based on your preferences.
You can also purchase fireplace accessories such as a cast iron grill or a charcoal holder to make the most of your outdoor fireplace and cook if you wish. Whether you want to cook with charcoal or directly on the fire's embers, you are sure to find a fireplace that suits your needs.